Cumulative Light Effects on Growth and Flowering of Tomato Seedlings

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Tomato seedlings (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Laura) were grown in an environmental chamber. In two separate experiments, plant growth from emergence to anthesis was divided into three equivalent segments based on either the actual number of days or the stage of plant development. In both experiments, plants were exposed to a high PPF (300 μmol·s-1·m-2)2) treatment (H) for one segment and a lower PPF (150 μmol· s-1·m-2) treatment (L), for the other two segments, resulting in three light treatment combinations (i.e., HLL, LHL, and LLH). Total dry weight and dry weight per unit of leaf area increased significantly in response to high PPF during all three treatment periods. Final plant weights and plant heights differed significantly between treatments, resulting in distinct plant growth characteristics. Plants from the HLL treatment began to flower 1 day before the LHL treatment and 2 days before the LLH treatment. The HLL plants initiated fewer leaves before initiation of the floral axis than the LHL and LLH plants. The light environment following the initial segment of seedling development most influenced final truss position at anthesis.

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